Top Tips for Travelling with Your Dog
Road tripping is always an exciting time, especially if you've got your furry best friend along for the ride! While it may be tempting to just jump in the car and get going, there are a few important things to remember to keep your dog safe and happy along the way.
Whether your dog is a seasoned traveller or not, see our vets top tips below on how to prepare for the trip ahead.
1. Do a Trial Run
If you have never travelled with your dog before, it's a good idea to do a couple of short car trips with them first. Some dogs love the car and will settle in quickly, while others may be anxious, unsettled, or even experience motion sickness. It is helpful, for you and your dog, to know what to expect before you leave, so you can prepare for a comfortable and stress-free trip.
2. Check The Fine Print
Before you head off, check that your dog is up to date with their annual vaccinations. Kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly infectious respiratory disease dogs can develop if they are not protected or overdue for their regular vaccinations.
Leptospirosis , another infectious disease in dogs, is prevalent in the northern parts of Australia and is often not routinely vaccinated against in the more southern states. If you are travelling interstate, it is a good idea to speak to your vet to ensure that your dog is protected.
Microchipping can save a lot of worry if you become separated from your dog during your travels. While many dogs are microchipped as puppies, owners contact details can change over time. Before going on holidays, ensure your dog's microchip details are up to date. These details are kept in a central registry, separate to your veterinary clinic. An Identification tag is also helpful in keeping your details up to date.
3. Leave The Nasties Behind!
Depending on where you are travelling to, it is important to make sure your dog is protected against parasites such as ticks. If you are travelling along the east coast of Australia, ensure your dog has protection against paralysis ticks, which can be deadly if your dog is bitten.
The Brown Dog Tick, while not harmful themselves, can transmit tick-borne disease such as Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial disease that recently spread in Australia. Ticks are reported to be most active during Spring and early Summer, however year-round protection is recommended in high risk areas.
4. Safety First
To keep your dog safe while travelling, it's important that they are restrained appropriately. This prevents injury if you brake suddenly or are involved in car accident. It also prevents them from jumping out if the car windows when open. While it may be easy to watch all the funny and interesting things our dogs do, distraction by an unrestrained pet can easily become dangerous.
There are a wide range of different restraint devices and car accessories available to keep both your dog and your car seats protected. A travel crate can help keep your dog contained and feeling safe in their own little den. There is also a range of dog booster seats and other car restraints, suitable for all sized dogs. For a large dog or an older friend who has difficulty getting into the car, try a dog ramp to make it easy for both of you.
5. Calming Aids and Nausea Remedies
Not all pets enjoy car trips and for some, it can actually be a significant source of anxiety. If this sounds like your dog, there are a range of calming aids that may help. It is a good idea to try these well in advance of the holiday trip to see which one works best for your pet.
There are a wide range of natural supplements available to help minimise feelings of stress and anxiety. Products such as Paw Complete Calm Chews, Thunder Wunder Calming Chews and Vetalogica Tranquil Formula contain L-Tryptophan, a compound which has been demonstrated to help pets that suffer from general anxiety.
Zylkene is a non-medicated supplement for dogs that is derived from casein, a protein found in milk, and specially formulated to aid in the management of anxiety and stress. Zylkene is widely recommended by veterinarians and comes in an easy to give capsule that can also be opened and sprinkled on food.
For some dogs, prescription medication may be required to help ease travel anxiety. In these cases, it is best to see you veterinarian for the most suitable medication for your dog.
If your dog suffers from motion sickness, Natural Animal Solutions Traveleze contains a combination of natural ingredients such as ginger, withania, and chamomile to help to ease nausea. This product.., is a liquid which can be easily administered orally or onto the food. Your local veterinarian can also provide advice and dispense prescription medication for dogs who suffer from motion sickness.
If your dog is prone to motion sickness reduce the likelihood of a messy trip by avoiding feeding them in the car and ideally feed them at least two hours prior to departure.
6. Car Snacks and Tasty Treats
Everyone loves a snack (or three!) on a long road journey - and it's no different for your dog! Pack a handy supply of no mess treats in the car for your furry companion. Treats have multiple benefits - aside from simply making your pet happy, treats can also help with obedience, provide distraction in times of stress, and can even help with anxiety!
7. Travel Accessories and Essentials
Features the Petkit Travel Water Bottle
For compact packing with no mess, consider investing in a Travel Bowl and Travel Water Bottle. Travel feeding accessories can really help save you space while packing, ensuring you can provide your dog fresh water and food wherever you are (and without having to carry bulky and heavy bowls!).
It is important to keep your dog cosy and well rested while travelling or staying away from home. Travel Beds or Mats are compact while providing your dog with a comfortable place to sleep.
For adventurous dogs, you may want to consider investing in a Dog Wearable Travel Pack or Life Jackets. A Pet First Aid Kit is also a must for those pet parents travelling with their dog to more rural areas, where immediate veterinary care may not be available.
Travel Essentials Checklist
- Travel Food Bowl and Travel Water Bowl
- Collar with ID tag
- Lead and Walking Harness
- Car restraint device- harness/seat belt/booster seat/carrier
- Favourite Toy
- Poop Bags
- Parasite Protection - up to date and additional if required
- Comfortable Bed
- Towel and Grooming Products
- Any Prescription Medications
- Calming Aids if required
- Pet First Aid Kit
8. Stop, Revive, Survive!
If you're in for a long trip, frequent breaks will be good for the both you and your dog. Stopping every two hours will help you recuperate and give your pooch a much needed bathroom and play break. Enjoy your travels!